How Do Various Forms of Auditor Rotation Affect Audit Quality? Evidence from China
44 Pages Posted: 6 May 2011
Date Written: May 3, 2011
The Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal has raised concerns internationally about auditor independence, audit quality, and the need for regulatory action such as mandatory auditor rotation. China’s unique institutional features provide us with a setting in which to compare comprehensively the various forms of auditor rotation at different levels (partner vs. firm) and in different settings (voluntary vs. mandatory). In addition, institutional conditions vary dramatically across China, which provides us with an opportunity to test whether the development of market and legal institutions affects the impact of rotation on audit quality. We expect that auditors are less (more) constrained by market forces and less (more) self-disciplined to maintain audit quality in regions with less (more) developed market and legal institutions. Therefore, mandatory rotation may play a more (less) important role in less (more) developed regions. Using auditors’ propensity to issue a modified audit opinion (MAO) as a proxy for audit quality, we find that firms with mandatory audit partner rotations are associated with a significantly higher likelihood of a MAO than are no-rotation firms. However, this effect is restricted to firms located in less developed regions. Similar evidence is found for voluntary audit firm rotation although the significance level is much weaker than for mandatory partner rotation. Other forms of auditor rotations (i.e., mandatory audit firm rotation and voluntary audit partner rotation), have no effect on MAOs.
Keywords: mandatory audit partner rotation, mandatory audit firm rotation, voluntary rotation, market and legal institutions, modified audit opinion
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation